Khao Piak Sen Recipe (Lao Noodle Soup)

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Khao piak sen recipe, a Lao noodle soup that’s my definition of comfort food. A rich, aromatic chicken or pork bone broth with homemade thick noodles, fresh vegetables and tasty condiments.

Steaming bowl of khao piak sen, a Lao noodle soup with pork, homemade noodles, garnished with fried shallots and green onions on a banana leaf background.

After this, try more recipes of Lao cuisine, they’re all authentic and downright delicious. One of my favorites is jeow bee, a spicy dipping sauce for grilled meats and sticky rice.

What is khao piak sen

Khao piak sen is a traditional Lao noodle soup that often features chicken or pork. Its hallmark is homemade tapioca noodles in a rich, spiced broth infused with aromatic spices like lemongrass, galangal, and ginger. It’s a comforting, fragrant dish native to traditional Lao cuisine.

Laos cuisine vs Isan cuisine

On a recent adventure to Laos to extend my hubby’s visa, we were both blown away by the incredible local Lao dishes. No kidding, it was so amazing that I had to create my own versions and share all the tasty recipes with you!

If you’re familiar with Isan cuisine, from the Northeastern part of Thailand, you’ll find Lao food to be identical.

Both cultures share a love of spiced up dishes like larb salads, zesty papaya salads, khao pun, and kheng no mai, also known as bamboo soup.

Insider secret: Both Laos and Isan are rich in rural landscapes, and it totally shows in our food culture. My grandparents still make the most of our surroundings, often on the hunt for wild mushrooms, insects, crabs, and even mountain rats.

Mountain rats are a delicacy here, often imported from Laos and sold pricey at local Isan street food markets.

Don’t worry, none of those are in today’s in this Laos khao piak sen recipe!

Close-up of pork rib over a bowl of Lao noodle soup, garnished with crispy shallots and fresh green onions.

Lao and Thai food cultures have many similarities. Both countries love to make food in large batches to share with a large group of people, make use of the natural resources, and experiment with herbs and spices.

Since both kitchens are so similar, you might find khao piak sen or other Lao dishes on the menu of some Thai restaurants, especially when the cook is of Isan or Lao origin.

Can’t get enough of Asian soups? Try tom yum kung, a spicy shrimp soup infused with lemongrass, galangal, and kaffir lime leaves. Or tom yum gai soup, a comforting Thai soup with coconut milk and tender chicken.

About Lao noodle soup

A hearty bowl of khao piak sen is the best way to start your day, as it’s often enjoyed as a comforting breakfast. If you’re not a morning person, you can totally enjoy it for lunch, dinner, or even as a late-night snack.

Traditional recipes are not loaded up on vegetables, but no one’s gonna stop you from adding your favorite greens – mushrooms, morning glory, celery, bean sprouts, basically anything that goes in a soup.

Lao pork noodle soup with tender pork slices, chewy rice noodles, and a garnishing of fried onions and shallots.

I prefer to cook the noodles directly in the chicken bone broth or pork bone broth. This gives the soup a thick, starchy consistency, and the noodles will soak up some of the soup. I advise making a pork bone broth, I like it better than the Lao chicken noodle soup variation. The pork bones just add more flavor.

An authentic khao piak sen recipe always comes with many aromatic spices, condiments, and toppings. And you shouldn’t skip on them, trust me! Chili oil, cilantro, scallions (green onions), fried shallots, fried garlic, and a lime wedge for a tangy note. Don’t forget to finish with some black or white pepper.

This is a meal that fills you up real good, seriously. One bowl of this, and I’m satisfied, it’s such a comforting soup. Make sure to cook up a big batch, that’s meal-prepped for a few days.

Gluten-free khao piak sen noodles

Khao piak sen noodles are made of tapioca and rice flour. They’re gluten-free, soft, and slightly chewy noodles.

The ideal rice-to-tapioca flour ratio for khao piak sen noodles is all about what you prefer.

I like a simple 1:1 ratio, giving the noodles a starchy, tender texture. Perfect for soaking up all the flavors in the soups.

If you’re aiming for a balance between tenderness and a bit of chew, you can opt for rations like 1:1.3 r 1:1.5.

If you’re searching for a khao piak sen noodle substitute, I hate to disappoint you. Nothing really compares to these authentic tapioca noodles, and you won’t capture that signature, starchy chewiness with any other noodle.

If you absolutely don’t want to make homemade noodles, you can get udon noodles at Amazon.

Lastly, it’s crucial to make the noodles with hot, boiling water. This ensures the dough becomes elastic, which in turn makes it easier to work with.

Ingredients

For the exact measurements, please scroll down to the recipe card at the end of this post.

Tapioca noodles

Ingredients for making khao piak sen noodles: tapioca flour, rice flour, and water.
  • Tapioca flour
  • Rice flour
  • Hot water

khao piak sen broth

Top-view of ingredients for khao piak sen broth: onion, garlic, black peppercorns, pork, sausages, salt, onions, noodles, fried shallots, soy sauce, ribs, and water.
  • Golden mountain sauce
  • Black peppercorns
  • Moo joh (sausage) – A Thai sausage with a rich, savory flavor. Optional, this sausage is available at some Asian grocery stores.
  • Light soy sauce
  • Coriander root
  • Spare ribs
  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • Pork – Chicken with bone can be used for a delicious chicken broth.
  • Salt
  • Water

Condiments and toppings

Cooking instructions

Make khao piak sen broth

Step-by-step cooking steps for making khao piak sen broth.

1: Prepare the flavor base. Use a mortar and pestle to roughly pound together garlic, black peppercorns, and coriander.

2: Sauté the paste. In a large pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add the pounded paste and sauté until it becomes fragrant.

3: Brown the ribs. Add ribs to the pot and cook them until they lose their red color.

4: Add water. Be quick to add water to prevent the aromatics from burning. Let the broth simmer for a minute.

5: Skim the broth. As your broth is boiling, foam will come to the top. Gently skim off any foam from the top.

6: Season the broth. Add onions, soy sauce, golden mountain sauce, and salt.

7: Simmer the broth. Bring your broth to a boil and let it simmer, reducing the heat if needed. Cover with a lid and let it simmer for 40 minutes.

8: Add the meats. After 40 minutes, add the sausage and pork. Cook for another 5 minutes until the meat is cooked through.

While the soup simmers, prepare the homemade noodles.

How to make khao piak sen noodles

Sequential images showing instructions for making khao piak sen noodles.

1. Add tapioca flour to a large bowl.

2. Create a well in the center and gradually pour in boiling hot water, mixing quickly. You can use a mixer with a dough attachment or a spoon.

3. When the flour turns translucent and consistent, mix in the rice flour until you have a non-sticky dough.

4. Dust a baking sheet with tapioca flour.

5. Transfer the dough, shape it into a thick log, and divide it into three equal parts.

6. Dust your rolling pin with tapioca flour and roll out one of the dough parts to your desired thickness.

7. Slice into 1/4 inch wide noodles using a sharp knife.

8. Place the noodles on a rimmed baking sheet, sprinkling with tapioca flour to prevent sticking.

Cook the noodles

When your soup is ready, cook the noodles in boiling water for 2-3 minutes.

Serve with garnishes

Place the cooked noodles in a serving bowl. Ladle the hot, flavorful broth over them. Garnish with lime, Thai chili flakes, fried garlic, fried shallots, coriander, green onions, and other seasonings if desired.

Tips for the best Lao soup

  • Cook the noodles in the broth. This makes a thicker soup, and they’ll soak up the liquid. You can totally cook them separately and add them later, though. Especially when you’re making the soup in advance.
  • Don’t skip the toppings. Trust me, they’re game-changers. That crunch and extra flavor of the fried garlic and shallots will make you want seconds. And you can add the oil used for frying the garlic and shallots back to the broth for even more flavor.
  • Cook low and slow. Simmer on a low heat to truly unlock the flavors. A bone broth becomes richer when you cook over low heat.

Kitchen tools

  • Mixer with dough hook (optional)
  • Cutting board and chef’s knife
  • Measuring spoons and cups
  • Skillet or frying pan
  • Large pot
  • Ladle

How to serve

Serve khao piak sen into individual portions. Make sure each bowl has a balance of noodles, meat, bones, and garnishing.

If you’re making this in advance, don’t add the noodles to the broth while it’s simmering. They will soak up all the soup, leaving you with a thick, not so appetizing soup. Instead, you can add the noodles when you reheat the soup.

Toppings for khao piak sen:

  • White pepper
  • Black pepper
  • Fried shallots
  • Fried garlic
  • Scallions
  • Cilantro
  • Chili oil

How to store and reheat

Store the broth into an airtight container and keep it in the fridge. If you can, store the noodles separately, in a ziplock bag.

Freezing instructions: You can freeze the soup in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight or on the stove. You can freeze the noodles as well, but they’ll lose texture.

Reheating instructions: Reheat on the stove over low heat. You can add the noodles straight into the broth, or dip them in boiling water.

If you added all your noodles in the broth before storing, you can add a splash of water or both to get more of that delicious soup.

Did you know?

Khao piak khao is another comforting Lao soup, made with rice instead of noodles. It’s got that same comforting, savory flavors and it’s totally a crowd-pleaser. If that sounds appealing, don’t miss out on my khao tom recipe, it’s like a Thai rice porridge.

Frequently asked questions

What does khao piak taste like?

Khao piak is a combination of chewy tapioca noodles or rice with a rich, savory broth. It’s a comforting soup with tender meat and aromatic spices, with fragrant toppings.

What does khao piak sen mean?

Khao piak sen roughtly translates to wet rice noodles in Lao and Isan language. “Khao” stands for rice, “piak” translates to wet, and “sen” means noodles.

Where did khao piak originate?

Khao piak originated in Lao, but many Southeast Asian countries have their own version.

Can I make this vegetarian?

Yes, you’ll miss out on the bone broth flavors, but you can add vegetables instead.

More Lao recipes you’ll love

If you loved reading this khao piak sen recipe, please make my day by dropping a star rating and/or a comment below!

Khao Piak Sen Recipe (Lao Noodle Soup)

Servings: 6

Description

This khao piak sen recipe delivers a comforting soup with a pork bone broth and many delicious toppings.

Ingredients

Khao piak sen noodles

Khao piak sen broth

Toppings

Instructions

Khao piak sen broth

  1. Use a mortar and pestle to roughly pound together garlic, black peppercorns, and coriander.

  2. In a large pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add the pounded paste and sauté until it becomes fragrant.

  3. Add ribs to the pot and cook them until they lose their red color.

  4. Be quick to add water to prevent the aromatics from burning. Let the broth simmer for a minute.

  5. As your broth is boiling, foam will come to the top. Gently skim off any foam from the top.

  6.  Add onions, soy sauce, golden mountain sauce, and salt.

  7. Bring your broth to a boil and let it simmer, reducing the heat if needed. Cover with a lid and let it simmer for 40 minutes.

  8. After 40 minutes, add the sausage and pork. Cook for another 5 minutes until the meat is cooked through.

Khao piak sen noodles

  1. While the soup simmers, make the noodles. Begin by adding tapioca flour to a large bowl.

  2. Create a well in the center and gradually pour in boiling hot water, mixing quickly. You can use a mixer with a dough attachment or a spoon.

  3. When the flour turns translucent and consistent, mix in the rice flour until you have a non-sticky dough.

  4. Dust a baking sheet with tapioca flour.

  5. Transfer the dough, shape it into a thick log, and divide it into three equal parts.

  6. Dust your rolling pin with tapioca flour and roll out one of the dough parts to your desired thickness.

  7. Slice into 1/4 inch wide noodles using a sharp knife.

  8. Place the noodles on a rimmed baking sheet, sprinkling with tapioca flour to prevent sticking.

Cook noodles

  1. When your soup is ready, cook the noodles in boiling water for 2–3 minutes.

Serve with garnishes

  1. Place the cooked noodles in a serving bowl. Ladle the hot, flavorful broth over them. Garnish with lime, Thai chili flakes, fried garlic, fried shallots, coriander, green onions, and other seasonings if desired.

Note

  • Use the nutrition card in this recipe as a guideline.
  • Feel free to add vegetables - mushrooms, morning glory, celery, bean sprouts, basically anything that goes in a soup.
  • The tapioca noodles are gluten-free.
Keywords: khao piak sen, khao piak sen recipe, Lao noodle soup
About Author

Praew

I owned my own Thai restaurant and have years of experience in various other Thai restaurants. I've been whipping up classic Thai dishes by my mother's and grandma's side since I was just a little girl. Now I'm sharing my deep-rooted passion with my authentic Thai recipes on this food blog.

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